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By Marcus John Marlow, MD

I was born and raised in the Greater Flint Area. I received my medical doctorate from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in 2005. I am certified in plant-based nutrition and as a yoga/fitness instructor. I am particularly interested in contributing to the education and empowerment of individuals towards living full, healthy and vibrant lives. In that way, I was approached and very happily agreed to help provide a series of short, informative articles regarding health and wellness.

An adviser of deer may provide counsel in the form of looking both ways prior to crossing a street. Of course, looking both ways won’t prevent all deer from being hit by a car, and most will escape that fate even without looking. Nevertheless, few would deny that looking both ways is a pretty solid piece of advice for deer. Diseases/ disorders are manifested in the human body as a complex  combination of numerous internal and external factors. Consequently, there is no known diet that will completely eliminate the risk of disease/disorder. In our ever present quest to better ourselves, our environment and communities, we have a responsibility to take into control that which is in our control, thereby improving that which we are capable of improving.

“Mommy says” is a step towards bringing better understanding the very  confusing and troubling issue of diet as it relates to health. Moms are well-known for giving simple, effective and timeless bits of knowledge. In fact, the one most obvious timeless bit of information is that none of us would be here without our mothers, thus the name  Mommy says.”

There’s no shortage of trendy diets or conflicting information being  circulated Moms are well-known for giving simple, effective and timeless bits of knowledge. at the present. It’s very easy to get lost. The purpose is to provide accurate and accessible information regarding nutrition and related topics to promote health and overall well-being through conscious consumption.

The definition of word “conscious” is to be aware of and responsive to one’s environment or, in other words, to be awake. Conscious consumption is an awareness or responsiveness to that which we are consuming. Most individuals, given proper information and viable options, will make decisions that will be of benefit to themselves given proper respect to their environment. Conscious consumption has led me towards maintaining a diet that is derived almost entirely from plant sources and which  emphasizes fresh and/or frozen (depending upon the time of year) produce as opposed to highly processed plant-based food items which may have little, if any, health benefit.

Eating a plant-based diet has many benefits. However, not all plant-based food items are created equal. A fresh, minimally processed plant-based diet focuses on whole minimally processed foods and limits or completely avoids animal products. Fresh, minimally processed plant-based diets have been shown to aid in the prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Plant-based nutritionists take the scientific knowledge about our internal physiology into account and make recommendations almost entirely based on individual health concerns.

A vegan diet, on the other hand, is also exclusive of animal products but does not necessarily emphasize fresh, whole or minimally processed foods. Vegans also do not purchase (consume) and/or use shoes, clothing, shampoo, etc. produced using animal products. Many vegans make decisions based off of moral/ethical values oriented towards improving the external environment. Their dietary choices may not necessarily be due to a regard for their own health. Conscious consumerism combines what is known about individual health from a scientific perspective with that which is most valued by vegans from an external environmental/ethical perspective, bringing our internal physiology and health into better harmony with our external environment.

In summary, no current diet will cure and/or prevent all ailments. Many environmental and physiological factors may be outside of our immediate control. Having basic understanding and making decisions based off of reliable information is tantamount to conscious consumerism. We can only control that which we control. The absence of perfection should not be used as a means of excusing us from taking steps to improve.

So, wake up! Mommy says to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables! Please feel free to try the recipe below.

(Vegan and Gluten-Free on a Budget)

1 cucumber
2 medium sized tomatoes
1/4 cup rice vinegar (plain or flavored)
1 tablespoon of olive or avocado oil
1 cup converted (parboiled) rice


Dice the tomatoes and cucumber and place in a salad bowl (you can add a pinch of kosher or sea salt and pepper just to draw out a bit of water). Set aside.

Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to boil, add the rice and cover. Turn down the heat to medium and let simmer until water is boiled off.

Add the rice vinegar and olive oil to the cucumber and tomatoes.

Serve over the rice.

This is my go-to meal when money is very low. Healthy eating does not mean expensive eating. One can eat healthily without breaking the bank. This meal serves 2-3 individuals for between $1-2 each. Total preparation time is only 20 minutes. Additionally, this recipe is very flexible. If you have more, you can add more. I like adding fresh corn, edamame, purple grapes (cut in half), avocado, clementines, fresh basil, etc. You can add whatever fresh fruit or vegetables you’re compelled to add or just eat it as described. Either way, you’re getting a clean, healthy meal at a low cost.



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